Atlanta United players celebrate winning the MLS Cup 2-0 over the Portland Timbers on Saturday, December 8, 2018, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. Team owner Arthur Blank is in the foreground. (Photo: BOB ANDRES / BANDRES@AJC.COM)

Euphoric fans: ‘We did it. We really did it.’

Euphoric fans embraced and chanted  “A-T-L, A-T-L.”  There was lots of red confetti, and some tears — some really happy tears.

“You have no idea how what this means to me,” said an emotional Martin Makokha, 33, of Atlanta.“Guess what — a lot of people say Atlanta is a bad sports town. But we proved them wrong. ... We did it. We really did it.”

MORE: MLS Cup champs: Atlanta United defeats Portland

Behind goals from Josef Martinez and Franco Escobar, Atlanta United defeated Portland 2-0 to win the MLS Cup in front of record announced attendance of more than 73,000 on Saturday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Not that Makokha or a lot of fans seem to have much doubt going into a game Atlanta United dominated.

“I had no other expectation,” he said. “I believe in this city. I believe in these players. I had no fear.”


Long after the victory, fans remained in the stands, reveling in the moment. 

Katy Cowle and Carrie Duda grew up playing soccer together. Now 30, they started going to Atlanta United games shortly after the team formed. Cowle always knew the team “looked good,” but didn’t expect an MLS Cup this soon. 

“I’m so excited I have somebody to root for in Atlanta,” Cowle said. “It’s miraculous. It’s always been possible, but this feels like a miracle.”

Atlanta United’s Miguel Almiron kisses the MLS Cup after a 2-0 victory over the Portland Timbers on Saturday, Dec 8, 2018, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. (Photo: Curtis Compton/

MORE: How Atlanta United took over a city

MORE: Atlanta United fan participation guide

MORE: Atlanta United fans are a ‘rowdy, proud’ bunch

Amanda Coyne contributed to this article.

Saturday night, another rather late-life venture, Atlanta United, plays for MLS’ championship in just its second season of existence. Owner Arthur Blank, the man who co-founded Home Depot, built a window onto the global culture of soccer and challenged this southern city’s tastes in what makes for great sport. (Video by Ryon Horne/AJC, Steve Hummer/AJC)

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